When to use a wedding planner (and when not to!)

Not everyone loves planning a wedding – in fact, heaps of people find the whole process stressful. Sometimes, you just need a little extra help in the form of a wedding planner.

But how do you know when to use a wedding planner – and when you probably don’t need to?

WHEN TO USE A WEDDING PLANNER

  • When the idea of planning a wedding is the most stressful thing you can imagine
  • When you’ve run events before and hated it
  • When you’re getting married quite soon and don’t have anything organised
  • When you’re crazy busy (with work, hobbies, kids and more!)
  • When your dream venue doesn’t provide extras such as catering, beverages or decorations
  • When you don’t have much family or friends around (or at least not many helpful family members)
  • When you’re putting on what feels like the world’s biggest wedding…

And lots of other times we haven’t mentioned!

A wedding planner can organise everything from venue to catering to decorations to on-the-day coordination. They’ll often be able to get you a good deal because of their relationships with vendors and their ability to negotiate.

In the weeks leading up to the wedding, and on the day, a wedding planner can seriously reduce your stress by taking care of anything that goes wrong, making sure that everything happens when it’s meant to, and leaving you to focus on just marrying the love of your life.

But does everyone need a wedding planner?

WHEN YOU COULD PROBABLY DO WITHOUT ONE

  • When you’ve been planning your wedding for years and already know what you want
  • When you love DIY and have plenty of time to do it all in
  • When you’re a fairly chilled out couple and don’t feel the need to have everything perfect
  • When you’re overloaded with family and friends offering to help

If you decide not to go with a wedding planner, that’s cool! Neither did any of our team. If you decide not to pull in a professional, make sure you’ve got everything planned well in advance so you don’t have to stress at the last minute, delegate whatever you can, and recruit a friend or family member to be your ‘on-the-day’ coordinator (or hire an actual one). The last thing you want is to be fielding phone calls on the day you get married!

If you’re not using a wedding planner, we’ve also put together a free, handy checklist to make it a little easier for you to organise your wedding yourself.

Download Honeypot's free wedding checklist

One thing that is easy to organise yourself is your registry – especially with Honeypot making it easy to ask for cash in a non-confrontational way. Get started on your registry, your way now.

Save the dates: Do I need them?

When I said to my fiancé, “What do you think of these save the dates?” his response was more akin to “What the hell are save the dates?” than the excitement I was hoping for.

However, that’s not really that surprising – after all, save the dates are a fairly modern invention. They only really came about in the 2000s or so as a way to let people know to keep the date open, especially for people needing to travel.

But do you really need to send save the dates?

Our answer, just like pretty much everything else when it comes to weddings is simple: only if you want to! There are a few situations where they can be a really good idea, but frankly, it’s your wedding – do what you want!

This is when we’d recommend save the dates:

  • When your wedding is still quite awhile away and you’re unlikely to send the invitations until much closer to the time
  • When you’re inviting lots of people from overseas who may need notice in order to make arrangements
  • When you’re of an age where many of your friends are getting married too – so no-one doubles up on dates!

So who do you send them to?

We’d suggest being really careful with who you give save the dates to, as, although it’s not a full invitation, it’s a pretty good sign that they will be getting one. So send them to those you know are definitely going to be inviting, and don’t go overboard.

Don’t stress about sending a physical one overseas if you’re going to have to send an invitation too – save your postage and send them the image over email or Facebook!

What are your options for save the dates?

From a magnet for the fridge to a small card or an email, you’ve got heaps of choices. A few of our suggestions are below.

For the DIY bride:

  • Design them yourself on Canva, get them printed at your local print shop or VistaPrint, and hand them out yourself.

For the eco-friendly (and budget savvy) bride:

  • Send online save the dates through Paperless Wedding – they’ve got heaps of designs and the best part is they’re totally FREE!

For the hands-off bride:

  • Use a stunning template design from a designer in NZ or on Etsy – the cost often includes printing and delivery to you, so one order makes it super easy.

For the unique, perfectionist bride:

  • Get a design created just for you by the amazing Kelly from Creative Box or Kate from Speckle Spot Creative – our fave designers! Getting them designed especially for you also means you can get the rest of your stationery and signage designed to match too.

 

 

Way past the save the date stage and already thinking about your registry? Find out how Honeypot works and get started!

The ultimate free wedding checklist

Every married couple knows how much is involved in planning a wedding – and nearly every bride has had a last minute freakout about having missed something. That’s why we’ve put together our go-to wedding checklist – with all the things you need to think about when planning a wedding.

We’ve made this a 12 month checklist, but you can easily do it in a shorter time – just condense the ‘to-dos’ down into fewer months. Either way, if you follow a good checklist, you should get everything sorted for your wedding with no (well, minimal!) problems. These are our main things – but feel free to add your own too!

Download Honeypot's free wedding checklist

Plus, get our free template for keeping track of all the little things you need to buy, make, borrow, hire, or just remember to bring along from home on the day – included in the free wedding checklist as a bonus!

The ‘B’ word – how to make a wedding budget you can actually stick to!

Budgeting – the very word can strike fear in the hearts of many; not least if you’re planning a wedding! Luckily, we’re here with our top tips for how to plan a wedding budget, as well as our super useful free wedding budget template and wedding savings planner template.

So how do you set a wedding budget that’s actually do-able?

Figure out how much you’ve got to play with

A wedding budget is generally always finite – made up of how much you can save by your wedding date, and how much others (usually parents) are contributing. Setting your wedding date further away, or looking at ways you can cut down your spending can help you achieve the budget you’re hoping for. Open our free wedding savings planner template in Google Sheets and make your own copy to figure out just how much you’ve got to play with it. Check out our video below for how to use the template to figure out your potential savings!

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Set your priorities

We talked about this in our last blog about how to get started with wedding planning, but it’s just as important here – figure out what the most important things are to you, and assign the most money to them. Is an amazing photographer a must have? Budget for the one you want and look for ways to cut costs in other places. Keen for a big bar tab? Make sure you’ve budgeted that in.

Do your research

Now it’s time to figure out what the average cost of things is – and unfortunately that can vary a lot! Use resources like the Wedding Discussion Group – New Zealand on Facebook to search for what others have paid, get recommendations, and ask for anything you are trying to gauge the price of. A photographer could be anywhere from a grand to well over ten grand, so getting an idea of what others have paid can be helpful.

Set your wedding budget

Now it’s time to put those numbers in! Decide what you’re comfy with for each item and put that into your budget. If the budget adds up to too much – look for where you can cut costs on the things that aren’t as important to you. And don’t be afraid to change the budget up as your ideas about your wedding changes – so long as the total doesn’t change, you should be all good!

Not sure where to start? Use our awesomely useful free wedding budget template to create your own budget. Get it here and watch the video below to find out how to best use it, plus get a view of a real-life wedding budget!

Get your wedding budget template now

First steps: How to get started with wedding planning

Honeypot co-founder Verity is newly engaged and ready to share her tips – but what needs to happen first?

So I got engaged just over two weeks ago (woohoo!) and there are already heaps of things to think about. My fiancé, Matt, was fairly surprised when I immediately kicked into wedding planning mode, which he should not have been given my penchant for organising everything well in advance.

I’m lucky in that I’ve had a couple of years in the wedding industry and so already had a good idea of what I wanted to do, but I know for a lot of people the thought of wedding planning is this horrendous mountain to climb. The number of people saying ‘good luck!’ when they find out you’re about to start planning a wedding isn’t super helpful either…

Luckily, that’s what we’re here for! To make your wedding planning journey as smooth as possible.

So you’ve just gotten engaged – what do you need to do first? Here are my top 3 things to help you get started with wedding planning:

 

  1. Get your ring insured

Whether your fiancé had already chosen the ring or you’ve gone out and picked one together, the last thing you want to think about is losing your gorgeous new engagement ring. Unfortunately, it can happen (believe me – my mum lost not only her original engagement ring AND her replacement one).

If you’ve already got existing contents insurance (which I’d recommend anyway) then it’s pretty easy – give your insurer a call and ask them to add a specified item. This is important as many contents policies only cover items up to $1000. You’ll need to know how much the ring is worth (either how much it cost or a valuation provided by a jeweller) as well as a basic description of the ring. I called up AMI to add my ring and it was actually really lovely – as soon as I said the specified item was a ring she asked if it was ‘a very special ring’ and immediately got super excited for me when I told her we’d just gotten engaged. Go Melissa at AMI; you did the impossible – made sorting insurance exciting for me!

If you don’t have contents insurance, there are also specified jewellery insurances out there. Just make sure you read the policy – some policies have rings covered only if you’re wearing it at the time (which is a bit shitty if you take it off to protect it while doing the dishes only to lose it!) The other important thing is to prove that you actually own it – luckily with the number of photos newly engaged people tend to take of the ring, you should be okay!

  1. Have a think about what’s important to you

Your wedding is about the two of you, and no-one else. As tempting as it may be to go the whole hog and do everything that wedding mags tell you is totally necessary, that’s not actually true. And with the cost of weddings being seriously insane (we’re aiming for well under $20k and that seems to be a cheap wedding by most accounts), it’s important that you’re not just spending money for the sake of spending money.

One of the best ways to avoid doing that is by considering what’s important to you – sit down with your fiancé and each write down the things that matter most, whether that’s getting time together alone, a gorgeous dress, amazing photography, having everyone you love there, delicious food, a kick-ass party, or keeping it small. Try and figure out what things are common across both of your lists, and decide 3 or 4 main things that you want to focus on so that you don’t get distracted by all the other ‘nice to haves’.

For us, our most important things were having time with each other, being surrounded by all our friends and family, having delicious food, and making sure that everyone’s having fun, so we’re focusing on those four things to design how we want our wedding to feel and look.

Make sure you do this before you start any planning – otherwise it’s really easy to get swept up in what your wedding ‘should’ be like.

  1. Make a rough guest list

Finally, start to have a think about numbers. I know this seems early, but it will affect so many things about your wedding planning – what kind of wedding you’ll have, what venues you’ll be able to use, and most particularly, how much your wedding is likely to cost. I have a big family and several groups of friends from different areas of my life, so it’s already been tricky figuring out who would be on the first draft.

Ask yourself – are we inviting the whole family? Are we okay with just immediate family, or just aunties and uncles and no cousins? Is this friend someone who we think we’ll be friends with in two years or are they someone who plays a big part in our life now? Do we know that friend’s partner well enough to invite them, or have they been together so long that they’re a package deal?

Make a first draft and then go back to it a day or two later – we discovered we’d missed a couple of important people but also realised that we could cut a few other people. Hopefully, you’ll start to get an idea of numbers, even if you change who’s on the list later.

We’ve managed to keep ours to just under 100 which I think is rather an achievement (I think Matt was worried I’d end up with 300 on my list) and are planning on getting married at a venue where only 100 will fit – so we’ll have to keep it under that!

Next week I’ll be talking all about starting a budget – what to include, what some average prices might be, and how to keep track of everything. Check back in then!

 

 

Bride to Bee: My engagement story

I’ve known I would be marrying Matt for a long time.

Within a couple of months I knew he was a keeper and within six months I knew we’d be spending the rest of our lives together.

Not only is he funny, kind and smart, he, like me, has coeliac disease so has to eat gluten free – so just convenient really! 😛

We’d talked about marriage, and I knew he was saving up for a ring. Yes, I am a feminist but yes, I was still very excited about the thought of him proposing and never considered doing it myself. I thought it was only fair since I’d asked him out in the first place – make him put some effort in after all!

Soon after Christmas, I was walking down to Takapuna Beach to meet him for lunch (he was having to work over the Christmas period). I even had a think along the way that perhaps he might propose that day. It was where we’d had our first date after all! But given that he had to return to work for the afternoon, and wasn’t down on one knee when I arrived, I figured it was probably just a normal picnic.

We had a lovely picnic, and he’d even come prepped with flowers as an apology for not having my Christmas present on the day (I’d been giving him shit since then). However, after I’d shoved my gob full of delicious food and far too many scorched almonds, he cranked out the line of ‘actually I do have your Christmas present here if you want to open it’ and a suspiciously ring-sized Christmas present shaped box.

This is the box:

Engagement ring box

And apparently this was what my face looked like when he pulled it out:

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I pulled a ring out of the box, which he took from my hand, and then he asked me to marry him. It’s mostly a blur, but I believe my reaction was to leap on him (not the ring, so I’m gonna take that as a good sign of my priorities). He’s still not sure whether I actually said yes, so we’ve just taken that as a yes anyway!

So what does this all mean for you?

Well, I’ve been writing Honeypot blog posts for a long time now, but it’s always been using other people’s input and ideas. Having been doing this (and trawling Pinterest) for ages, I’m in a pretty lucky spot – I already have some good ideas for how to get started and what I want.

However, because I know it can be pretty overwhelming if you haven’t already been looking at wedding websites for the last two years, I’m inviting you to come along with the wedding planning journey with me! That’s where Bride to Bee comes in…

You’ll get blog posts from a real bride in real time – I’m going to aim to put up one new blog and video every week (hold me to it if I get slack!) to share where I’m up to in the process and give you as many tips and tricks as I can. I’ll also aim to do a few live videos where you can join in the conversation and ask questions about what I’ve done or the other knowledge I’ve got from time working in the wedding industry.

Follow the blog by hitting follow on the right –> or make sure you’ve liked us on Facebook to keep up to date with all the videos and blogs – next week I’ll put up my first proper video, all about the first things you need to do when you get engaged. Are you ready to come with me on the crazy journey that is wedding planning?

 

Getting your wedding invitations right – top 5 tips from an expert

We love working with other awesome wedding businesses in NZ to make sure you get the best advice possible for the wedding of your dreams. This month, we’re super excited to welcome Kelly from Creative Box to share a few of her gems:

INVITES – YOUR QUICK 5 TIPS

Hi there, this is Kelly from Creative Box, a New Zealand wedding stationery business. Our friends at Honeypot thought it might be handy if I put together 5 quick tips for planning your invitations…

  1. THE DETAILS: Ensure you have all the important details included on your invitations. These include: the wedding day, month, year and time, full ceremony and reception venue address, and RSVP details. 
  2. THE NUMBERS: It’s likely that lots of your guests will be couples and they’ll only need one invitation between them. Therefore your invitation order may be smaller than your actual guest list. Always include a couple of spares in your order too, just in case. 
  3. PROOF PROOF PROOF: Honestly, proof it backwards if you have to, or get someone you trust with spelling and grammar to do a second proofread. 
  4. POSTAGE: Keep your invitation and envelope size within the standard size and thickness so you don’t have to spend extra on postage. 
  5. GIFT REGISTRY: As today’s couples typically have been living together for a while and have accumulated all the traditional wedding gifts well before their wedding day it is quite acceptable to ask for money towards a large purchase, a holiday/honeymoon or house renovation. Though you may feel a bit awkward asking for money just let your guests know what their contribution will be going towards, so when they see your honeymoon photos or enjoy dinner on your new deck they know it’s thanks to them.

If you haven’t got your invites sorted yet, or need some help bedecking your wedding in gorgeously designed signage, Kelly’s your girl (just check out some of her gorgeous work below) – drop her a line at kelly@creativebox.co.nz

Honeypot Honeymoon Handbook: 7 top things to do in Buenos Aires

The Honeypot team have been busy bees travelling the world recently, and while most of those trips haven’t been honeymoons, we’ve picked up a few tips along the way. Today, we take a look at what to do in the “Paris of South America”, Buenos Aires – and how to make it a honeymoon you’ll look back on fondly for the rest of your lives.

1.Take a free walking tour or two

This was one of the first things we did in Buenos Aires, and one of the best things to do! Taking a free walking tour (disclaimer: they’re not actually free, but you tip what you think it’s worth rather than paying a set fee upfront) is a fantastic way of getting an understanding of the history and culture of the city.

We ended up doing two – one from the Teatro Colon to the Recoleta Cemetery, which focused more on the culture of the city, and one around the centre of the city, which ended in the Plaza de Mayo outside the Casa Rosada, and focused more on the politics and history of Buenos Aires. They meant that, wherever we went, we had great context for what things meant and the impact they’d had on the city – way more interesting!

Just don’t book too much in afterwards – your feet might end up rather sore!

Buenos Aires things to do - Casa Rosada

2. Learn the language

I was pretty lucky in that I had studied Spanish at uni (although it was fairly rusty!) but Matt said that he wished he’d learned a little before coming – not only did it mean I could order our meals more easily, it also meant I got to have some cool conversations with taxi drivers and other locals that he didn’t get to be part of except for my translation. Do definitely brush up on your Spanish before heading over!

Buenos Aires honeymoon Spanish language

3. Go to a milonga (but take a tango class first!)

Everyone knows that Buenos Aires is famous for the tango, and a milonga shows off just how engrained tango is in the culture. We went along to one at Las Manzanas de las Luces, which is only open on a Friday night – it’s basically a community hall where well over a hundred people come each week to dance tango together. It’s just lovely to see how everyone (young and old!) comes together to dance the tango.

A word of warning though – pop along earlier (I believe around 7 or 8) for the tango class so you can pick up the basics. You’ll feel a little lost and probably not too keen to join in on the crowded dance floor if you don’t know how to do the moves, but if you get out there it’s a pretty romantic way to experience Argentinian culture together.

Tango at a milonga, Buenos Aires honeymoon

4. Pop across to Uruguay

Coming from NZ, the thought of getting to another country in just an hour is pretty astonishing, but it’s super easy to hop onto the ferry across to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay. Grab your tickets the day before from the Seacat store near Galerias Pacificos and you’ll be all set.

Colonia del Sacramento is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is such a gorgeous glimpse into the past. Just don’t be surprised if it feels a bit like a ghost town before 10am. Take advantage of feeling like you have the town to yourselves by spending the time exploring together.

Colonia del Sacramento Uruguay

5. Hit the markets

The San Telmo markets are the most famous (and biggest!) markets in Buenos Aires, and are well worth it. Open on a Sunday, they stretch all the way from a block past the Plaza de Mayo right down to several blocks past the Plaza Dorrego, which is the heart of the original market. You’ll discover antiques, unique crafts, lots of food options, and entertainment galore, which makes it a really delightful day out. Just be aware that your other half may not enjoy browsing for QUITE as long as you do 😛

San Telmo markets Buenos Aires honeymoon

6. Visit the world’s prettiest bookstore

Perhaps if you’re not quite as much of a theatre or book nerd as I am it might not have quite the same impact, but it’s worth a visit anyway – the El Avaneo Grand Spectacular is truly the most amazing bookstore I’ve ever seen in my life. Set in an old theatre, walking in and seeing all the balconies filled with books is just unbelievably beautiful. There’s even a café inside so you can sit and enjoy the view (and a Dulce de Leche milkshake – get one each!)

El Ateneo bookstore Buenos Aires honeymoon

7. Go Evita hunting

Our knowledge of Eva Peron was pretty much restricted to the musical Evita and one paper I’d done at uni on Argentinian history that I barely remember, but after visiting Buenos Aires, we felt well educated. It was super interesting to discover just how torn the nation still is about whether Eva Peron was a saint or the worst person in the world, and you could see signs of that everywhere. From the fresh offerings that still get left at her grave in Recoleta Cemetery and the museum dedicated to her life, to the graffiti insulting the Peronists, it’s one of the most interesting – and prevalent – parts of Argentine history.

But if you’re a fan of the musical, I will warn you – there’s no stopping “What’s new, Buenos Aires?” constantly going through your head while you visit.
IMG_1845 (1)

So that’s our guide to the best things to do while honeymooning in (or just visiting!) Buenos Aires – it is seriously one of the coolest cities I’ve been to and is pretty damn romantic if you find the right spots. Just turn and whisper in your new spouse’s ear “Te quiero” and you’re all set!

To get your dream honeymoon in Buenos Aires (and beyond!) instead of traditional gifts, create your own customised honeymoon registry right here at Honeypot – get started now.

One year (and 6 months) of being married – a husband reflects!

The Honeypot blog tends to be a bit female-heavy on perspective, so we pulled in our resident guy, Shane to give his thoughts on what changed – and what didn’t – after getting married.

This blog was initially going to be “one year of being married” but since deadlines aren’t my friend, it’s now 18 months later. Whoops!

So here we go – a guy’s thoughts on marriage 18 months after our wedding:

Some things were very different

Calling Katie my “wife” was very odd. Being engaged for just under 18 months before the wedding, I barely had time to adjust to “fiancée” before upgrading to “wife”. So for about 3 months after the wedding, I said things like “my girl f—, fia—, wife(!) Katie…”. And don’t get me started on the number of forms I had to scribble on after ticking “de facto” instead of “married”…

Then there was the ring – I never wear jewellery, not even a watch, so suddenly wearing a ring was a big deal. I noticed it all the time. It made my hand heavy, it clicked and bumped things, it was strangling my finger. It’s less noticeable now but I still don’t often wear it around the house only put it on when I leave the house (like shoes) or when people come around (like pants).

Some things never change

Life goes on – bills needed to be paid, food needed to be bought, Netflix needed to be watched. After this big hype of the wedding and the honeymoon, where everything pretty much got put on hold, within a week everything else in our lives just went straight back to normal.

What’s more, Katie was still the same person – she didn’t suddenly become the “old ball and chain” (a cringeworthy phrase) or some homemaker housewife. She still left open olive jars on the kitchen bench and I still didn’t make the bed before going to work. We still laughed and argued about the same dumb things.

We suddenly had money again

Weddings are expensive. Most the money related matters leading up to the “big day” (and by that, I mean the day before the wedding when all the suppliers needed to be paid in full!) involved sticking to our budget and saving extra money where possible. But now, we’ve got money again! Suddenly payday meant there was disposable income!

I didn’t know what to do next

A weird feeling I had for a bit after the wedding was emptiness of purpose. We’d spent just over a year focusing all our time and energy on planning a wedding (and launching Honeypot!) that afterwards I didn’t really know what I was supposed to do. It was more that I could do a whole number of things but had taken a year hiatus from thinking about them.

Funnily enough, the practice we had budgeting, planning and saving for the wedding was very handy. We ended up applying for 2-year working visas and moving over to the UK for our OE.

The “kids” discussion

Apparently there’s a social script that suddenly starts running when you get married (and don’t already have progeny) and it dances around the innocent query of a particular time frame. Most people navigate the “so… kids..?” questions subtly enough, but there others who are (a) more bothersome (siblings), (b) have less shame (parents), or (c) aren’t good at nonchalant (grandparents).

My current response is we’re getting a puppy first.

So the wedding was a big, stressful, exciting, one-off event but 18 months later? A lot of stuff changed, a lot of stuff stayed the same. Some things happened and some things didn’t happen. All in all, it feels a lot like just getting on and living life. Just now it’s with my wife beside me instead of my girlfriend!

Your registry, your way: New features for your wedding registry

Well, it’s been over a year since Honeypot launched, and what a year it’s been! As we come into our second wedding season, it’s so exciting to see how many happy couples have used Honeypot for their dream honeymoons or to fill their homes with special items that they absolutely love.

Now, we’re excited to offer a couple of new features based on the feedback we’ve been getting from you. They’re set to make Honeypot even more flexible and customisable than it was before.

So what’s new?

Customised URLs

You ask; we provide! Several Honeypotters asked if they could make their own URL so that they could include it in their invites or on their wedding website and send people directly to their registry instead of to the homepage. Now you can! When you’re setting up your registry, simply choose the name you want and you’ve got a personalised URL to share with your guests.

Open-ended items

So many couples have been amazed by the generosity of their guests. In fact, some guests have given so much that the gifts the couples included in their registry were fully gifted well before the wedding and they had to add extra items. To save you from needing to keep adding extra items, we’re now giving you the ability to create unlimited items.

Whether a general “honeymoon food fund” or “post-wedding date night treasury”, you now have the ability to make any item unlimited. Once the other items get filled up, guests can keep adding to a more general fund. To make it more personal, why not ask them to suggest what you should do with the money? A place to eat or a date night idea?

As you’re setting up the item, just tick the box that says ‘Open Ended’ and guests will be able to keep giving as much as they like towards that item right up until your registry closes!

Last opportunity for a lower price

One other thing that’s changing is the price for using Honeypot.

You see, as is often the case with new businesses, we realised that we didn’t quite get the pricing right – and because we want to be able to keep investing in the platform and updating it in the ways that our awesome customers have been asking for, we will be raising the price to a flat fee of only $150 (NZD) from 8 October 2017.

So what does that mean for you?

Luckily, not too much! So long as you go live by 7 October, you’ll still pay our old price of $130. You’ll still get to create your own customised registry with all the items you want – and your guests will still get to feel like they’re giving you the perfect gift.

PLUS because we’ve already launched our new features, you’ll get to take advantage of them without paying any more than you would have before now.

So are you ready to get your registry up and running? Get started now.

The Fine Print: Legal Requirements for a NZ Wedding

With all the planning, advice and decisions surrounding a wedding, sometimes we forget that there are certain legal requirements for any ceremony. I heard a story recently about a couple living in Australia who planned to marry in New Zealand. They, unfortunately, assumed their Australian celebrant friend could officiate at their wedding, and since this isn’t the case had postpone their ceremony at the last minute and go to a registry office! To help you avoid this scenario, I enlisted the help of our fabulous celebrant Desiree Mason. Whether you’re having a traditional church wedding or getting married on top of a mountain(!), all New Zealand weddings must include the following:

An officiant

In New Zealand, there are two legal ways to get married – through a registered celebrant like Desiree, or through the registry office. Wedding celebrants can be secular or religious (e.g. a pastor), as long as they are registered in New Zealand. Desiree must ensure that her registration is updated regularly.

A marriage license

This must be obtained at least three days before the planned ceremony. If you have a great celebrant like Desiree, they will probably ask you to organise it earlier so they can fill in the details in advance. You can download the application form here. You will need to know some details of the ceremony in order to complete the form, such as the location, date and celebrant. After sending the form off, you will be posted a marriage license and two versions of the “Copy of Particulars of Marriage,” all of which should be sent to your celebrant. According to Desiree, her obligations include: “formally identifying the couple on the marriage licence as the people that I am marrying, sighting the licence before the ceremony to ensure that the details are correct and holding the ceremony at one of the places named on the licence.”

A wedding ceremony

Your ceremony can include almost anything you like, but there are some “must-haves”. Desiree says as a celebrant, “I need to use the couple’s full names at least once in the ceremony and ensure that the couple says ‘I (full name) take you (partner’s name) to be my legal wife/husband’ sometime during the ceremony”. There must be two witnesses to the ceremony who must not be intoxicated and are able to understand what is happening. If the witnesses do not speak English, then an interpreter is required. The interpreter needs to sign a statutory declaration before the ceremony saying that they will interpret what is said accurately.

Signing the wedding registry (not the Honeypot kind!)

This usually happens straight after the ceremony, and involves the couple and witnesses signing the two versions of the “Copy of Particulars” at the ceremony. According to Desiree, the couple must use their pre-wedding signatures. The celebrant will send off one copy to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages within 10 days of the ceremony, and the second copy will be given to the couple.

Of course, a good celebrant’s role includes far more than the minimum legal requirements. When we got married, Desiree’s planning advice was invaluable and she works really hard to understand the couple on a personal level. Keep an eye out later in the year when we’ll be profiling Desiree as part of a “Wedding Expert” blog series. Until then, happy wedding planning!

How to pack for a honeymoon of many climates

If your dream honeymoon consists of weeks lounging by the beach in Fiji, then packing should be fairly simple – who needs much more than a bathing suit when you’re by the beach the whole time? But if your honeymoon is likely to be a bit more widespread, you might need to prepare yourself for a few different climates – and that’s where we come in.

While prepping for a trip to South America that’s likely to take in three very different environments, we thought we’d put together our very own Honeypot packing guide for a ‘honeymoon of many climates’!

Layer, layer, layer

When it comes to clothes, think multi-use clothes that you can layer to cope with differing temperatures.

Packing cubes for clothes in South AmericaEach of you should bring:

  • 7 x underwear
  • 7 x socks – a mix of ankle, crew cut, or warmer
  • 5-6 x t-shirts or tank tops (or add another if you’re fairly sweaty!)
  • 2 x long sleeve tops (merino works well)
  • 1 x shorts
  • 1 x jeans
  • 1 x track pants or leggings (you’ll be pleased when you’re keen to relax in the evenings!)
  • 1 x bathing suit/board shorts
  • 1-2 x cardigan or lighter jacket
  • 1 x fleece or puffer jacket (at least for those of us who get cold easily!)
  • 1 x light windproof raincoat
  • 1 x pair of flip flops
  • 1 x sneakers/walking shoes
  • 1 x nicer shoes
  • Hat (preferably one that can fold up small)

 

Toiletries

This one’s probably the most subjective – I only use a few basic things but am very picky about which ones I use, so I hate when people say “just use the little ones from hotels” (no-one wants to see how greasy my hair gets a day after using those!)

I’d suggest getting a few cheap travel bottles (K-mart all the way!) and filling them up with your faves instead. This is what I’ve packed:

  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Toothpaste & brush
  • Contacts & solution (plus eye drops – man my eyes get dry when travelling!)
  • Face wash & moisturiser (or just face wipes if you’re a little lazier)
  • Razor & exfoliating glove (no-one wants an ingrown hair while travelling…)
  • Laundry wash (for hand washing clothes along the way – no-one likes a stinky travel companion!)
  • Sunscreen & insect repellent (especially important for those of us whose blood is apparently irresistible to mosquitos…)
  • Back up pads or tampons (of course you’ll always be able to find them, but bring a couple just in case you get stuck on a flight or train!)
  • Rehydration sachets, altitude sickness pills etc. (whatever your travel doctor suggests for where you’re going)
  • Mini first aid kit (just some plasters, antiseptic wipes, panadol and a few other essentials)

 

Travel tools

img_9805.jpgI’m a bit of a sucker for awesome travel gadgets, but I try control myself to just the essentials (well, what I see as essentials anyway!) – so here are a few of my favourites:

  • A good travel pillow (we just got some new ones off Kickstarter that you can use several ways and I’m very excited to actually get some sleep on this flight!)
  • Your device of choice (I swear my Kindle’s the best thing that ever happened to my travelling, while my man’s Nintendo Switch is his go-to. Either way, make sure you’ve got something to keep you entertained on those long flights and train trips!)
  • Universal power adaptor (it turns out it’s pretty hard to find convertors for anywhere that isn’t the US, UK, or Europe, so a universal convertor can be pretty damn handy!)
  • Headphone splitter (for some reason I seem to have collected a few of these for free, but they’re super handy. It means you can watch stuff on your phone or tablet together – without having to live with only one headphone each!)
  • Packing cubes (these are my new favourite things and mean you don’t have to pack and unpack constantly to find what you’re looking for)
  • Money belts (I know, they feel weird and look lame, but I feel so much more comfortable knowing that my passport and most of my money is safely held against my body and I can cover it up so no-one sees it’s there)

 

The official stuff

Of course, then there’s the boring but necessary stuff:

  • Passports
  • Tickets/itinerary
  • Travel insurance details & contact number
  • Local currency (or a lot of US dollars in places like South America – they’re just as useful)
  • Credit card or back up monetary access (preferably with an RFID envelope to protect scanning – whoever thought paywave was a secure way of transacting is slightly crazy in my mind)

Pro tip: Make sure you’ve got scans of all your details saved in Google Drive/Dropbox or your email so you can access them wherever you are in case anything goes missing.

 

So that’s it – my packing list for a trip around South America with my man. Should be helpful for any honeymoon or couples trip taking in a few different climates, or for anyone who is a bit of a nerd like me and likes to make a checklist of everything well in advance (yes, I did start packing weeks beforehand).

Keen to go on your dream honeymoon? Why not ask for parts of it in your Honeypot registry? Get started here.